The Tyranny of the Urgent


“I’m already overwhelmed in my job. I have no time left to write a blog post, create a conversation on Twitter, or engage in a Facebook discussion.” I hear it quite often these days.  I understand people’s frustrations. We all seem to be tapped out. My answer is simple: you must let go of the urgent and not important and focus on the important but not urgent.

Easier said than done.

The urgent always demand our attention, whether or not it warrants it. It’s the “needs immediate attention” email you get in the middle of the day, or a “crisis” a client is having you must attend to. Much like disgruntled church members, the “urgent but not important” tasks fill our days and rob us from doing what we should be doing but, unlike its obnoxious counterpart, the “important but not urgent” will not grab us by the neck and yell, “deal with me.”

Ultimately, however, the “important but not urgent” is where breakthroughs happen, where possibility and creativity flourish and where our time is best spent.

As I was telling a room-full of people to stop dealing with the urgent, I felt convicted to heed to my own advice and to take inventory. So, I’m asking you and me the question:

What’s urgent and not important in your life you need to addrees?


  • That's a great question to reflect on today. I think we can get trapped into a false sense of urgency. It's easy to make things important that aren't and vice versus.

    On the social media side, I think so many miss the benefit because they fail to look at it through a strategic lens and they've been misinformed of how it works. Farmville and Mobwars has a lot of people thinking Social Media is just people wasting time versus creating real, equitable, sustainable and ROI producing relationships. Takes time too… time that many just aren't willing to invest because they want immediate response versus being willing to invest now for future payoff.

    • Good point, Daniel, not all social media is created equal. You can waste a lot of time if you're not strategical about what you're doing.

  • Good reminder – think I will hang in the IMPORTANT zone all day and see what happens.

  • Blane, this is easier said than done, believe me. The tendency is to run to put out fires, specially if you're the kind of person who wants to please people and make everyone happy. I struggle with this every single day.

  • Mark Jeffress

    I think it’s time with my children. They are small but I’m afraid if I don’t spend more time with them, I’ll miss the opportunity to speak into their lives. 

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